Pace and running is such a mental game.

I’ve run off and on since around 2003-ish. I would run outside randomly or join a gym and hit the treadmill. It wasn’t until 2012 that I started getting seriously into running. I’m kind of a newbie here. When I started way back when I was around 12-minute miles. I entered a bunch of 5ks and shorter races and just ran three or four days a week, trying to increase distance and speed a bit.

Then I got the bug.

I wanted to run farther. I wanted to conquer the half marathon because 13.1 miles seemed super long to me. I found several training plans, picked one and followed it the best I could. I finished my first half in 2:31:50. And I was quite proud of myself! My ultimate goal was to finish at 2:30 and I was quite close!

When I train and actually run, my races and pace reflect that and stay close to the 10-10:30 pace level. When I’m not training? I’m in the 12s. My worst half marathon, with virtually no training, was 12:24. I am also a bit slower in December, even with training. I blame the cold air. I also struggle with March races because I do a bunch of races in December/January then I tend to take time off and struggle to get back in so then my March races suffer.

Sorry, I was analyzing my races since 2012 this morning! I can be a numbers nerd.

I am getting off track… so I started racing in 2012 and then in December 2016 and January 2017 I got sick. I had been training for my first marathon and cruising right along. I did my longest run on Christmas Eve. I was feeling strong and ready to run 26.2 and then my sinuses rebelled. I went through an entire box of kleenex in about two days. I took about a week off and tried to hop back into my taper. And around 2 miles/20 minutes I’d get dizzy. I assumed it was related to being sick, maybe inner ear troubles. I couldn’t get more than two miles in and had to drop out of the marathon.

I waited a bit, tried running again. Same thing. Waited a few months. Same issue. I figured my running career was over.

So I did not run much at all in 2017. Toward the end of the year, I was itching to run, so I started again. I could go a bit further but I’d still get dizzy. I ran one race, a turkey trot, in 2017. It looks like I’m really fast because it’s listed as a 5k but in reality the course was short. I did some more races in 2018, I just took my time and walked a lot.

At some point, I decided to read 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald on heart rate training. I switched to heart rate training thinking my pace issue might be a heart rate or blood pressure issue. I had to start out super slow to hit close to the heart rate zones. I started at about a 16:30 pace, which is slower than I can walk! I have been slowly working on increasing my speed and am now hitting paces in the 13:30-14 minute miles after two months of heart rate training. I am getting there! Slowly, mile by mile, working my way back down to my desired 10-10: 30-minute miles.

In case you were wondering, I do not have any heart rate or blood pressure issues. I have vocal chord dysfunction.

So, I know what I have and I take medicine and do exercises for it. I’ve been doing this for about a month and haven’t had any issues. *knocks on wood* *crosses fingers* I will be starting marathon training officially on July 9th and I plan to redo my threshold test because I think I need to adjust my heart rate zones after two months. I am also going to start pushing myself. I know I have more in me. I just need to reach down inside and pull it out.

I have the potential and I have the drive. I just need to do it, as Nike would say.

I think the hardest thing with my current pace is the knowledge that I can be faster. I have been there before and I want to be there again. I am trying to be patient and appreciate the gains I am getting. I know I will never win a race. I am not even an age group placer. I am ok with that. I don’t need to win. I just want to be my best self. I want to be a better runner. I want to make new PRs. I want to improve. When I was at my “peak” before I was working towards 9:30-10-minute miles. I want to be there again.

It’s a mind fuck. But I am willing to put in the work. I am willing to run more. To race more. To focus on my strength and working to fix my weaknesses. I want to finish a marathon. I will finish a marathon and I will finish in 4:45. I am putting it out there and I am chasing it. I will catch it. And once I do? I will find a new challenge and crush that too. I have crushed every running goal so far, so why stop now??

What tips do you have for building speed or increasing cadence? Or form tips? I need to work on that too. I like to keep my head down.

And if you didn’t know I’ve been adding videos to my youtube channel. Here is one I threw together real quick on pace!


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Adjustments to Goals

I’ve been reflecting on the goals I’ve set for 2018 and decided I need to make a change. With limited time and energy, some things needed to go. We’ve only got a limited amount of hours each day and rather than force time for something that doesn’t currently fit in my life I’ve decided to drop it and focus on other pursuits I enjoy more.

I have determined that at this time, meditation is not meant to be in my life. I have been trying to force it into my routine and it just doesn’t work for me. I would rather spend time reading and writing than meditating. I often find myself with no good time for meditation because I can’t do it with others around (too many distractions) and if I am alone, I tend to fall asleep while meditating which kind of defeats the purpose. 

Finding time and a place to comfortable meditate is causing me more stress than reducing it. I plan to focus on keeping myself in the present in general rather than meditate. It just seems to be a better fit for me at this time.

Sometimes you realize something wasn’t meant to be in your life at this time. Instead of forcing it, you have to let it go.

In other news, I did run both the 5 and 10 K over the rock n roll weekend with no ill effects! In fact, I haven’t had any issues while running! I am slower than I’d like to be but sometimes going slow is for the best. I have a quarter marathon trail run coming up and I will have to keep telling myself to go slower because for some reason I want to go SUPER fast on trails.

I have been sticking to my consistency word. I’ve been really good about my workouts. A few time I have taken an extra rest day but it was because my body (or mind) needed it and I got right back at it the next day. I’ve also been logging my food every day (except one!) and logging completely honestly. I’ve been eating really well and staying in my calorie goal. I am still struggling to hit my protein goal but I keep working at it.

How are you doing at working towards your goals? Have you reevaluated any yet?



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Goals: Physical and Mental for 2018

Goals: I have a lot of them.

I want to start showing up. Every other Monday, I will be here, pouring my heart out and working toward my health and fitness goals. I hope you will come back and join me each time. It always helps to have others to hold you accountable for your actions. You do that for me, as long as I keep showing up here.

goalsMy word of the year? Consistency.

In 2018 my focus is on overall health, physical AND mental. I want to feel good inside and out. I want to decrease my anxiety and depression. I want to find joy in the everyday. I want to decrease stress. I have a plan to slowly add in daily meditation, journaling, and reading. These three activities center me and help me decompress. I am starting out with 1-2 days per week and when that becomes habit increase it slowly until it’s a daily thing. The hardest part for me is finding the 15 minutes to meditate. I work all day and then come home. It’s easier after work when no one else is home but that is a rare occurrence. And then I sometimes doze off while meditating later in the evening. It’s a work in progress.

For journaling, I can easily do that most nights. I just don’t. I have journals and pens, just gotta do it! Same with reading. I usually read on my commute and lunch break, I just need to be more consistent with these times. I want to read a book a week this year. I’ve devised a plan of attack and week one went great. I figured out I needed to read 55 pages for 7 days to finish my book. It was easier to sit down and read knowing I *only* had to read 55 pages. Most days I read more and the last two days I had about 30 pages each day. I also listed out all the books I plan to read this year so I know which one is coming next and when I finish one I can move right on to the next!

I am also focusing on logging my food and hitting my calories and macros. For now, I am working on just logging. I log everything I eat. If I have a great day, I can hit my calorie goal. If I have a bad day, I log and go over but at least I am logging. I am holding myself responsible for my choices, both good and bad. Meal planning and healthy recipes are also a focus. I am trying to find easy, quick recipes with similar ingredients to make it easy to do and stick with.

Finally, the physical. I want to be consistent with all my workouts. I want to be a runner again. I want to gain strength. I want to push myself to workout when I’d rather sit on the couch. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch and listen to that voice in my head than it is to workout. I have signed up for a few short races to help push myself in running and another challenge to help me reach my strength goals.

Part of me is afraid to run more than 3 miles. If I push myself in distances will I have the same reaction I did early in 2017, which caused me to stop running altogether? I’ve had it a few times over winter, but not every run. I plan to discuss this with my physician at my annual appointment. I think it might be blood pressure related, high or low. I test high at the doctor and normal at home but the symptoms read like low blood pressure drops. It could be related to poor nutrition and going out too fast/hard. I need to figure it out though because I get anxiety when a new distance comes up on a training plan and then find out reasons not to go.

I still have plans to get the runs on (not) gluten page up and running, in the meantime go join the Facebook group as it is slowly becoming the place to be!

What are your goals for 2018 and how will you be consistent? What is your word of the year?

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I know it’s been awhile. I got busy trying to get my photography business on track. I promise I will get back to posting. I have ideas and just need to execute them!

I really want to develop my runs on (not) gluten section of my website and make it a destination for all things gluten-free.

I want to start writing about health and fitness. I have a personal project in the works.

I want to start posting recipes. Again, I have another personal project in my mind.

I have a few other ideas in my mind as well. It’s all up there. Promise.

I just need time. And the ability to get everything out of my head and actually done.

In the meantime, join my Facebook group! I am posting over there, as it is quick and easy.

Adulting is hard y’all. But, I will be back! I know it. I can feel it and I want to be here.

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My current weight. I am putting it out there for all to see. I am not where I’d like to be. I gained 25 pounds since my celiac diagnosis. First, I was in denial. It was only 10 pounds. I’ll lose it easily. But it just kept coming. Then came anger. How the fuck did I gain all this weight? Fuck celiac disease. Yes, I kept blaming my celiac disease. Going gluten free can cause weight gain but I think mine was probably just the first 10-15 pounds. I put on those pounds pretty quickly after going gluten free. The other 10 pounds? I slowly packed those on.

I was depressed about having celiac and going gluten free. So I ate. I ate crappy gluten free baked goods because I could. I ate entire packages of Glutino cookies because they were better than my beloved Oreos.

But I think I have finally reached acceptance.

self confidence
Probably one of the last times I felt happy & confident in myself.

I know I gained the weight and I’m not happy with it. I know only I can change it. So I started. In July I focused on eating healthy. The past week or so I have been tracking my food. I redid my calorie and macro calculations and am working to hit those goals. Anyone know how I can reduce the number of carbs? I eat WAY too many carbs for being gluten free!

I am slowly trying to get active again. I am working towards my 10K steps per day and 10 plus minutes of stretching. I am slowly adding running back in. And by the end of August, I hope to start lifting weights again. I was feeling so much stress earlier this summer. Work was crazy. Running my own business on top of work and then trying to fit in workouts was making me crazy.

So I stopped.

Often we neglect our mental health, but it is just as important as our physical health. We need to make sure our mind is healthy. My anxiety was getting crazy high. I was starting into a downward spiral of depression. So I stepped back. I thought, what can I drop and/or refocus on? For me, it was working out and eating better. I couldn’t skip my job. We kinda need the money. I don’t want to give up my business. I am still trying to grow it to where I want it to be. So I stopped my workouts. I still took daily walks. I started making better food choices.

I started small and am building towards where I want to be.

What else happened when I gained all this weight? I lost my self-confidence. I want that back. I want to feel confident in everything I do. I want to feel good in my clothes. Right now all my clothes feel too tight or don’t sit well. Plus, I am wearing the same few pieces all the time. They are easy. I know they fit somewhat ok. It’s time to start utilizing everything in my closet. I want to wear skirts and heels. I want to put on makeup and feel pretty again.

I truly believe that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. I know if I start dressing like I feel pretty or sexy, I will actually start feeling pretty and sexy again. My plan is to get in the shower just 5 minutes earlier. Five minutes should give me enough time to pick out a different outfit and put on some eye shadow and mascara. I can put on lipstick at work after I eat my breakfast.

How do you boost your self-confidence when you aren’t feeling 100%?

Follow me on Instagram to keep an eye on my journey! I try to document my fitness and food!

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June and July Wrap Up

July is coming to an end. How have I done the last few months?

Not that great.

I have given up on working out. I was being so sporadic I didn’t feel it was worth it. I did better in June than July but I can’t get my head in order. My 9-5 has been crazy this month and despite having good intentions every morning I am dead by the time I get home. My head is spinning and all I want to do is zone out and relax. I have been giving myself permission to do so. I think it is important for my mental health to just have some downtime.

I have been focusing on eating better. And I would say 90% of the time I have been doing pretty well. I am eating fruits and vegetables and filling up on protein. I am limiting my sweets and doing really well in this category. July has seen me eating a lot of potato chips and pretzels. I apparently am heading towards a salty binge. Week days are so much better than weekends because I tend to graze when I’m writing or editing photos.

I am giving myself permission to take time and get one area of my life somewhat controlled before I add another element. For July I really focused on my food and will continue to do so through August. My plan is to reintroduce workouts in September. I want to try running again plus restart the Bikini Body strength program. It’s a 6-day program but I plan to start slow and do just Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the weekends. I will rest on Tuesday and Thursday. Once I feel comfortable with that, I will add in one more day to do the program as written.

I think mental health is just as important as physical health. Stepping away from exercise is both bad and good for mental health. I know I feel better when I workout but right now working out is causing me to stress more. I am still taking walk breaks every day, just not doing strength or cardio workouts. I would love to but I need to get my mental health in order.

I have not journaled much in June and not at all in July. I plan to start adding that back in during August. I will start off with once a week and build from there. I also want to start reading before bed again. I have a stack of magazines that are calling my name but I have picked surfing Facebook or playing Candy Crush instead. As much as I enjoy mindlessly playing around on Facebook, I need to use my time better.

It’s been a rough summer but everything gets better eventually, right?

How do you keep yourself motivated? What do you do for mental health? Tell me in the comments!

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Marathon Training: Week 1 & 2

This year is different. I will complete my first marathon.

How do I know this after only two weeks of training? It is all completely mental. I am in a much better space mentally this year than last year. I have good and bad days. I have doubts but it is so much different than a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think I would ever run again. I was still struggling to accept my celiac diagnosis and figure out how to fuel my body without gluten.

I have now been gluten-free for about a year and a half. It is almost second nature to me. I still miss certain foods and the freedom to order anything but I am used to it now. I know what is safe and where I can eat. This has been a huge help in my mental running game.

I do struggle a bit with the heat and the early wake-up calls. I have been getting up at 4 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 5 AM on Saturdays. It’s tough but I actually enjoy getting my runs done and not having to worry about it after work. I might even keep this up after the marathon.


I am trying a new approach to training this year. I have written my entire training plan on a calendar but am not looking too far ahead. I did an overview and have an idea of dates I need to adjust and plan for but I am taking it a month and a week at a time. At the start of September, I looked at the schedule but I only start planning on Sunday for the coming week. I make adjustments as needed for the week. If things come up during the week, I change it accordingly.

For example, I didn’t take a full rest day this week but instead of doing 30-45 minutes of cross training on two days I did three days of 20 minutes each. It was what felt right and fit with my schedule. I also swapped my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I got home late Friday and knew running on less than 6 hours of sleep was not optimal. I could have slept in Saturday and then ran but it would have been hot and there wasn’t much cloud cover. Sunday morning before sunrise was much better.

Two weeks are done and just 18 more to go! I know I can do this. I am ready.

Do you want to see more on my journey to 26.2? If so, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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Are you happy and healthy?

“If you don’t take care of your body where are you going to live?”

I don’t care if you are a healthy weight, overweight or obese… are you happy with your body?

If not, you need to figure out why and what makes you unhappy and take steps to change it. People of all sizes can be happy with their body, or unhappy. The above quote puts it well, you are the only one who can take care of your body. You are the one that has to live in your body every day. Why wouldn’t you want to take care of it?

I used my leave time to jump start my running.

I have struggled with being happy and taking care of myself. I think we all do. I’ve talked about my celiac diagnosis before. I’ve mentioned I have gained weight since my diagnosis (a common occurrence when celiacs go gluten free). Before my diagnosis, I was losing fairly quickly and was down to 140. I was happy there and wanted to work on building strength. I am now 157 and miserable. I feel flabby. My clothes are too tight (and a few pants no longer fit). I am struggling to lose weight.

I also went through a period of stuffing my face with all those gluten free cookies and cupcakes. I wasn’t happy. I was stressed. I ate my feelings. I was caught in a cycle of feeling stressed and unhappy, stuffing my face to feel better, and then feeling more unhappy because I just ate a million calories.

I know what I need to do. I think most of us know what we need to do. The struggle is to actually follow through and do it. I keep starting, giving up and starting over. It’s time to end that cycle. I am not sure who the following quote is attributed to as I’ve never seen a name attached to it but it is something I keep telling myself…

“If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

I need to tell myself this every day. I am tired of starting over, of not changing, not moving forward. I want to feel healthy and happy. I am the only one who can keep going. I am the only one that can change my actions.

As of last Thursday (who needs Mondays or the first of the month), I have been working hard to make sure I track my food. I know tracking my calories helps me lose weight. It’s worked before and every time I stop I overeat. I also know I can get obsessive so I have adopted a more loose style of tracking food. I’m not worrying if I go over calories. It is what it is. But I might think, was I really hungry? Was I stressed? Reflect and move forward.

I am trying to hit my 10k steps each day and workout. I am currently doing a Nike Training Club program, which includes running. But being back in Phoenix heat I am struggling to run but am trying to do cardio on those days if I don’t run. I feel better when I workout. I am also working on shoulder and hip mobility so when my 6 weeks rest is up I can get back to New Rules of Lifting for Women. I enjoy lifting weights. It gives me a different level of satisfaction than running. I need both.

July 7th was my new year. I am starting over but this time, I am sticking with it. I want to happy. I deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. It will be hard. There will be struggles, but I am ready for the challenge.

Yes, taking care of yourself is hard work. Everything worth fighting for is hard work.

You are worth fighting for.

What quote gets you through the difficult times?

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Get on that!

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Start Small

start small

Start small… go back to the basics.

I’ve been struggling to get back into the habit/routine of working out. I haven’t been fully committed to my workouts, especially running, over the past several months. The problem is I want to be at the level I was when I fell off the wagon. I’ve said it before… I know what I’m capable and it is frustrating to feel so far from my best.

When you haven’t been consistent you need to go back to the beginning. But it is so hard!

I want to just be great at eating healthy and making good diet choices. I wish I could go out and run 10:30 miles. But I can’t. I have to take it slow and steady. I have to start small and build on the healthy habits.

I am lucky I don’t have to start at the bottom, but I am close. Instead of just running six miles I am run/walking. I do get frustrated but I know I will be better off in the long run.

start small
Getting back on the horse with run/walks

My diet has been off the rails. I’ve been eating a lot of sugar for energy and to make myself feel better. I know sugar fixes these things temporarily. I am not quitting sugar cold turkey. I am cutting back. Instead of the entire box of Milk Duds, I am having a handful. Instead of getting a Snickers and Reese’s peanut butter cup from the vending machine I get one or the other. I am making sure I am getting my fruits and vegetables. I am working hard to eat all the protein!

Start small.

If you want to start eating better or working out pick one thing and focus on it until it becomes second nature.

Looking to improve your diet? Start small and make sure you are drinking enough water. Once you have water intake as a habit add something else. Want to eat more fruit and vegetables? Add one serving to each meal. Eat too much chocolate? Cut one serving from each day.

Want to start working out? Look at where you are now and add something. Do you sit at a desk all day? Get up and take a 15-minute walk break twice a day (once in the morning and once in the afternoon). Stretch each night after dinner. Once these feel like second nature add another walk after work. Or at lunch.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t need to be difficult. It just needs to be something you can do. You just add more as you get comfortable with the last step.

Just start.

And keep at it. You will stumble. You will fall but what matters is how you react. Do you get back up, dust yourself off, and start again? Or do you give up and start surfing the couch?

How do you start small when you get off track? Leave your ideas in the comments.

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Celiac Awareness Month

Celiac Awareness Month is May.

Officially a year has passed since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am not going to sugarcoat it, the past year has been rough. I struggled to adjust to a new diet. Giving up gluten is hard. Gluten is in more than you can even imagine. Things you wouldn’t even think of. I had to spend more time reading every single label in the grocery store. Grocery shopping, a chore I hate, suddenly took twice as long. I had to give up all my favorite fast foods. No more McDonalds. No more french fries almost anywhere. I started stuffing my face with dark chocolate and Talenti. I couldn’t stop shoveling in the sugar trying to appease my loss.

2015-08-06 12.47.00
Gluten free grilled cheese & fries from Jewel’s, a local all gf place.

I gained weight. I saw the scale go up nine pounds by August. Nine pounds in four months. I knew weight gain was probable but I wasn’t mentally prepared to gain so much in such a short time.

I fell into a depression.  Eventually, I stopped working out. It all seemed too much. I didn’t want to run. I just wanted to sink into the couch and never leave. I was wallowing in self-pity. I knew I needed to pull myself out but I couldn’t.

Of course, I was thankful to have finally gotten a diagnosis. I felt better almost instantly. The bloating and brain fog were gone. I stopped getting migraines. I hadn’t felt “right” for many years. I had almost forgotten what it felt like. It was amazing. I didn’t know I could physically feel this good. I just had to get back to feeling mentally “right”.

I went through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order but they all came around. I still get angry now and then but not like I was in the first few months. I have *mostly* accepted it. I have accepted the diagnosis and not having gluten for the rest of my life but I haven’t fully accepted that others don’t have to make gluten free options. I still want McDonalds to be gluten free. I still want places to put the burger on the bun for me. I am slowly accepting that places don’t get celiac and gluten but I am hopeful.

I hope that my voice can bring about change. That restaurants and servers will understand this isn’t an allergy and proper prep is important. Cross contamination is a big deal. You may not see it but I will be affected. Celiac disease is an invisible illness. I won’t go into anaphylactic shock like a peanut allergy. You may never know that your carelessness made me so bloated I had to unbutton my pants at a baseball game. That I woke up the next day with a migraine. That I struggled to stay awake for the rest of the weekend. That I couldn’t get anything done for a few days. Celiac disease does not have a visible reaction. I suffer in silence.

I will speak for those who struggle to speak for themselves. I want to be the voice of celiac disease because it is important for people and places to know it isn’t an allergy. It isn’t being a hipster. It isn’t about a diet. Or trying to lose weight. It is about my health. My life.

May is celiac awareness month and I hope that my blog has made you aware of an often misunderstood auto-immune disease. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I try to be as open as possible about my diagnosis and struggle.

Helpful Links:
What is celiac disease?
Symptoms Checklist
7 Diseases Doctors Miss

I included the last link because for 10+ I thought I had IBS. I was given that diagnosis while I was in college but never had any testing. I finally had enough of the symptoms and wanted to know if it was something more or if I should adjust my diet. My symptoms started long before that but I just thought it was normal. I had no clue about celiac disease or even what gluten was!

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